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Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026 275 275

An anonymous reader writes Elon Musk says that he'll put the first human boots on Mars well before the 2020s are over. "I'm hopeful that the first people could be taken to Mars in 10 to 12 years, I think it's certainly possible for that to occur," he said. "But the thing that matters long term is to have a self-sustaining city on Mars, to make life multiplanetary." He acknowledged that the company's plans were too long-term to attract many hedge fund managers, which makes it hard for SpaceX to go public anytime soon. "We need to get where things a steady and predictable," Musk said. "Maybe we're close to developing the Mars vehicle, or ideally we've flown it a few times, then I think going public would make more sense."
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Elon Musk: I'll Put a Human On Mars By 2026

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  • by stiggle (649614) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @06:01AM (#47270279)

    He's building his framework of companies to support a colony there.

    SpaceX to get there and then Tesla electric propulsion charged via better efficient solar panels from Solar City, needed due to the dimmer sun further out in the solar system.

    Just needs a building system using Martian resources next (concrete based on martian dust)

  • by OzPeter (195038) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @06:28AM (#47270373)

    There was a story last week about how extroverts would be the worst possible people to have along on a multi-month trip to mars in a very small spaceship. That is something that introverts are better suited for doing.

    Extroverts Don't Belong on Mars []

  • Re:Science Fiction (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Warbothong (905464) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @07:08AM (#47270509) Homepage

    Of course it would be pretty awesome to be able to colonize Mars, but we're not there yet and putting a human being there unless there is a real reason to do so is wasteful and a safety risk.

    You're right that there needs to be a 'real reason', but we can say the same thing about, say, Australia. Why do we make so many wasteful and potentially dangerous trips there every day? Because there is a thriving colony of humans there.

    It's a bootstrapping problem. Visiting/emmigrating to a martian colony would be a 'real reason' to go to Mars; so that's what we need to build.

  • Ok, next question. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by will_die (586523) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @07:08AM (#47270511) Homepage
    When does he plan to get the first person from Mars back to Earth?
  • Evolution in action! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by wisebabo (638845) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @07:09AM (#47270513) Journal

    Since we don't know what the long term effects of low-gee gravity (Mars is 1/3 that of Earth) as well as the higher level of background radiation (Mars' atmosphere is too thin to screen out a lot it), we're going to be evolving a new race of Humans! (I guess we'll call them Martians).

    This is the way Nature has done it for billions of years and it's worked. It's called Evolution. Sounds fine except Evolution works through DEATH, DEATH killing off those who can't survive long enough to pass along their genes to the next generation. So we may find that the first generation of colonists on Mars are going to have an absolutely horrific death rate (in addition to all the problems they'll run into with accidents, running out of supplies, breakdowns, etc.) but the next generation will be less so and so on. This is not a pretty picture but then again Nature; "red in tooth and claw" rarely is.

    The only way to make sure that there are enough Humans to evolve into Martians is to have a very high birth rate. So perhaps, as Dr. Strangelove would have it, we should have a wildly disproportionate sex ratio of females to males, in order to have the maximum population growth ("and they should be of a highly stimulating sexual nature" :). So maybe there's something in it for (men) to go to Mars!

    Of course we could actually avoid all this trauma (and sex?) by avoiding the natural selection process of Nature by fully understanding the problems we will face. Then we could either, pre-select the individuals who happened to be genetically endowed to survive and reproduce under those conditions or genetically engineer people who can. But that would actually require spending (comparatively little) money on such things as a centrifuge for the ISS to study mammalian reproduction under partial-gee situations. Since our species is not particularly good at planning (climate change anyone?) it appears as if we may be colonizing the old fashioned way; send a lot of people and see who lives.

    I think the first polynesians to cross the pacific in their canoes, the first americans to walk across the bering strait and even the first pilgrims to land in New England (1/3 died the first winter) would sympathize.

  • Toxic Mars (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Silpher (1379267) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @07:18AM (#47270529)

    Too bad Maris is toxic as fuck : []

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @07:32AM (#47270559)

    The only reason to bother doing so is PR. Keeping them alive for a few years is easier than bringing them back, and there is plenty of science to be done. The rovers have barely scraped the surface - literally.

    Don't view it as suicide. Everyone dies eventually - a mars trip just hastens the inevitable.

  • Heinlein's answer (Score:3, Interesting)

    by sabbede (2678435) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @07:48AM (#47270607)
    Anybody remember the Long Run Foundation from "Time for the Stars"? Because it sounds like that's what Elon needs.
  • by KingOfBLASH (620432) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @07:54AM (#47270621) Journal

    There's plenty of minerals on Mars. Maybe the first few years you'll have to stick to the imported habitat module, but if you send some geologists / chemists / minerologists in your first wave you'll likely figure out in quick order what you can mine / smelt into building materials.

  • by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @08:01AM (#47270649)

    Aside from the problem of a life support and food production system that can operate for 30 years, with a lead time on spare parts measured in years, and fresh supply shipments very limited. Plus the severe lack of medical services. Eventually a reliable colony would be possible - but the first few waves will just have to hope nothing breaks down and that the political environment back on earth keeps the resupply rockets flowing.

  • by sjbe (173966) on Thursday June 19, 2014 @08:22AM (#47270735)

    What I don't get is: who cares about hedge fund managers?

    Because they are the ones that have the money. I'm not saying that to be snide, I just don't think you truly appreciate how cash flows on that sort of scale work. If the project isn't going to be government funded then you are going to have to get the money from large investors. Hedge fund investors would be a significant part of any such discussion since they own big stakes in most of the companies that would be involved in the engineering and financing of such a project.

    Just do an IPO for the general public, small investors all over the world are more than eager to pour their money into SpaceX, they are literally asking him for it!

    I appreciate your optimism but I think it is misplaced. Such a mission would cost at minimum, many billions of dollars. Probably hundreds of billions if not trillions. For comparison, the International Space Station which is barely out of the Earth's atmosphere has thus far cost $150 billion and that is FAR less complicated than getting a man to Mars. (that's roughly $500 for every person in America or ~$20 for every person on Earth) The chances of successfully crowd funding that via small investors is remote at best. I think you are greatly overestimating people's willingness and ability to fund such a risky endeavor, especially given that it is quite unclear whether a human could even survive the trip. With all due respect to Mr Musk I think the notion that we will have boots on Mars within 10-15 years is absurd unless one or more large nation states are enthusiastically behind the project and willing to fund it.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"